Resuming our London warehouse operations

Alison Tweed, Chief Executive | 25th May 2020 | News

At Book Aid International we have continued to operate throughout the lockdown period, with the majority of staff working from home, staying connected with our partners and supporters and ensuring that books sent before lockdown arrive safely at their destination.

Our warehouse, however, closed on 23rd March and we have not been able to send shipments from Camberwell since then, although we have recently despatched two containers of books, requested by partners in Ghana and Zambia, direct from our warehouse space in Peterborough.

Following recent changes to government guidelines, we are now re-opening our warehouse and are working to resume operations as fully as possible over the coming weeks. We are following all government social distancing and health and safety guidelines, and the safety of our staff is at the forefront of all our plans. If you would like more information on how we’re operating during this time, please see our frequently asked questions below. 

We will be working very hard to ensure that as far as possible all our library and NGO partners receive the books they need this year as children across Africa get back to school, as universities and libraries re-open and as we all adjust to life post Covid-19.

We would like to thank all of you who have supported us through this difficult period. We are entering a period of economic uncertainty and we share the concerns of so many organisations for our own future and for that of the people we support.

Please do continue to follow us and to support us in whatever way you can. It costs just £2 to send another book to a child, a student, a refugee, a prisoner, or to someone desperate to read and with no books of their own.

We are committed to making long-term change through books and everything we do contributes to building a safer, more informed post Covid-19 world.

Stay safe and thank you for supporting Book Aid International.

Alison Tweed, 

Chief Executive


Covid19 FAQ

How are you protecting your staff? 

We are following, as a minimum, government guidelines regarding the safety of our staff and we are fortunate that all our office staff are able to work from home. For our warehouse team who are returning to work, we have implemented safe working procedures including social distancing, stringent and frequent cleaning and hygiene routines, staggered shifts and a smaller-than-usual team.

How is your work affected?

The temporary closure of the warehouse and resuming operations with a smaller team means the total number of books we will send this year may be lower than we originally planned for 2020. Many of our library and school library projects are also temporarily on hold until schools re-open and our implementing partners in Africa are ready to begin work again.

As shipping has continued to operate throughout the period we do not anticipate a significant impact on our work operationally, although we could experience delays in delivering books, particularly to landlocked countries in Africa. We are monitoring the situation very closely and will adjust our plans accordingly.

As we are funded entirely through voluntary donations we must also anticipate some impact on our income from the expected economic downturn. Any downturn in our funding will affect the number of books we are able to send. We would like to thank all our supporters for remaining with us through this challenging period.

How are your partners being affected by COVID-19? 

Many of our partners have informed us that they are continuing to operate but in a reduced capacity. The majority of schools and libraries have been temporarily closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, so our partners are working very hard to prepare for the time when they can re-open. In the meantime, many are adopting innovative new ways to reach their readers. Read about how our partners in Liberia are navigating the crisis and finding new ways to get books to those hardest to reach.

Why send books if all the libraries are closed? 

We always check with partners ahead of any shipment that they are able to receive and distribute the books we are sending. Some library services are open now and these partners will be prioritised in our plans.

Additionally, we send all our books by sea freight, which can take up to 4 months to arrive with our partners. It is important that we send books now so that they are with our partners when schools and libraries re-open.

Can I donate books?

If you represent a publisher, bookseller, author or other members of the book trade and have new books to donate (we cannot, unfortunately, accept second-hand books) please get in touch with Harry Boughton, our Head of Operations.

Can I donate to support your work?

Yes, please! Every £2 helps us end another book. Find out more about how to donate.

Thank you for your support. if you have any further questions please get in touch.